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The FARS Relay

Volume 30, Number 7 JULY 2000

July Meeting 

July 28, 2000 7:30 We're back to the fourth Friday. 

The Speaker for July has changed to W6OEB, Dean Babcock.  The Topic of discussion will be a Collins Vari-Filter. 

Jack Ruckman, AC6FU will speak at the August 25 meeting on the 10-10 Club. 

The September 22 Meeting will be Home brew Night as usual. 

- Howard, KE6PWH VP FARS

Well, there it is gang.  Howard is way ahead of the game and you have enough warning to get your home-brew project done and your patter rehearsed. 

Secretary's Report 

The FARS board held its monthly meeting on the evening of July 11, 2000.  Members present were Jack, WA6YJR, Dirk, KE6ZUY, Dick, N6ATD, Omri, AA6TA, Charlie, KF6CUU, Shel, N6RD, Howard, KE6PWH, Herb, KF6BKL, Steve, K6OIK, Mikel, KN6QI, and Martin, KD6WJW. 

The need to search for new club officers was expressed.  Many current officers do not wish to continue.  The club may be asked to change the night of the monthly meeting from Friday to another day.  Several members believe that this might increase attendance.  Also expressed was the need for sources of club income to replace or as alternatives to the flea market.  Finally, it was decided that next year's banquet will again be held at Michael's in January. 

- Martin, KD6WJW



We had a great time at Field Day; wish more of you had been out.  I want to thank all who came out and helped in the operation.  A big thank you to Charlie Arney who has made his place available to store the antennas and towers and many thanks to Arv who did this for many years. 

It is time for FARS members to start thinking about whom they want to be officers for next year.  It is up to each one of you to think about this and then take the action of asking the person you have thought about.  This is not a board only responsibility but one that each of you must participate in if FARS is to continue. We must nominate in October and elect in November. 

Have you upgraded, changed calls, moved, changed your e-mail address etc.?  If this applies to you, we need this updated information for our records.  Please send any changes to Shel N6RD Thanks. 

Omri, our Radio Officer has posted a set of rules for those who operate the club station please help us by abiding with them. 

MARK YOUR CALENDARS - The banquet will be on Friday, January 19, 2001 at Michael's.  We had a great time last year and I hope that many of you will come. More on this later. 

de Jack WA6YJR


Livermore Swap Meet - 1st Sunday of each month at Las Positas College in Livermore, 7:00 AM to noon, all year.  Talk in 147.045 from the west, 145.35 from the east. Contact Noel Anklam, KC6QZK, (510) 447-3857 eves. 

Foothill Flea Market - 2nd Saturday of each month from March to October at Foothill College, Los Altos Hills. FARS NET on 145.23 repeater Thursday nights at 8 PM. 

Jim, WE6V is running W1AW code practice sessions on the 145.23 repeater every Tuesday evening 8:00 to 8:30. 


President: Jack Eddy WA6YJR 
Vice President: Howard Califf KE6PWH 
Treasurer: Shel Edelman, N6RD 
Secretary: Martin Liberman, KD6WJW 
Training Officer: Steve Stearns KF6OIK/AE 
Radio Officer: Omri Serlin AA6TA 
Newsletter: David Wilkes KD6WRG (See address below) 

Board members: Dirk Thiele KE6ZUY, Dick Baldwinson N6ATD; Hans Neumann KE6TGA; Herb Davidson KF6BKL, Omri Serlin AA6TA, Larry Moore KM6IU, Charles Arney KF6CUU, Steve Stearns KF6OIK, David Wilkes KD6WRG. 

K6YA Station Trustee: Stan Kuhl, K6MA 

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The FARS Relay is the official monthly newsletter of the Foothills Amateur Radio Society Meetings are held at 7 PM on the fourth Friday of each month except January (Winter Banquet); and 3rd Friday in June, Nov. & Dec. Annual membership $20; family $25. Visitors are always welcome! Directions on the back page. Talk-in: N6NFI (145.23-, 100Hz) or W6ASH repeater (145.27 or 224.36). Contributions to the newsletter from members, family, and guests are earnestly solicited! Contributions subject to editing and/or compression. ASCII files via packet, Internet or diskettes preferred; but all readable forms welcome. Here is how to reach the editor: 

VHF voice: KD6WRG on N6NFI, 145.23- (100Hz PL) FARS net Thursdays 8 PM; Various other times. Mail: 1093 Kelly Drive San Jose CA 95129-3222 Voice: 408-996-1613 (Until 9 PM); Fax: 408-725-1036, and at FARS meetings. 


o DeLong Consulting o 

Internet - Firewalls - E-Mail - UNIX
Bridging the gap - Your net -> Internet 

Owen DeLong

3251 Firth Way, San Jose, CA 95121 
408-322-3741 - Fax: 408-532-9362 
Email: Owen@DeLong.COM



Newsletter #77 
5 July 2000 

Please feel free to forward this newsletter to any and all interested parties, or to reproduce it in any other publication. All we ask is that you give credit where it is due. 

SHORT NOTES: Now that the N2TY PSK list reflector is QRT, you might need a place to ask questions, seek assistance on some project, or post DX or product news. At least for the time being, use the GAZETTE's new PSK31 Hangout. Either go to the home page and click PSK31, or go direct to This is where you will find both questions and answers that have already been posted. As soon as the messages come in to me, I process them and get them uploaded as quickly as possible. 

To submit a question, answer or any other information, go to the service page and fill in the blank spaces. The service page address is: If there is not enough space on the submission form for your particular use, Email me at There are no size limits through the Email portal. 

And remember, there may be stupid answers, but there are no stupid questions for those trying to master this new mode. So please feel free to ask about any aspect of PSK. 

Now that I have so much experience with PSK31 (I'm somewhere over 50 Q's, including 22 DX countries), I finally got around to reading the Help files packaged with DigiPan v1.2. I highly recommend them to all for they are loaded with good information and tips. If you do nothing more than print out the macro list, Help will have proved its merit. Some of the tips are helpful as well. The one I like best is the use of <RXANDCLEAR> in place of <RX>. This stops transmission AND clears the lower window of DigiPan. Embed this in all your outbound macros and you'll find that this erasure helps you keep track of what's going on. Try it! You might even find out how to send small pictures along with your next QSO. 

After printing out several of the Help pages, I decided to take a look at the DigiPan website again. It's at I reviewed the entire site and came away with one piece of information I want to pass on to you. This product is free and is produced by Nick UT2UZ and Skip KH6TY. They hope to keep it free. But there are times when we want to do something more than just send an Email thanks to the authors, simply because the free product is so darned good. Well, now's the time. Nick is suffering severe health problems to the point where it has become difficult to hold a job. He needs our help and Skip has agreed to serve as the middleman. Please get your check book now, make one out to the NICK FUND and send it to Howard (Skip) Teller, KH6TY, 335 Plantation View Lane, Mt. Pleasant, SC 29464. Do that and enjoy the product even more. 

ANARTS speaks out on the subject of the "Single Transmitter" question. Unlike BARTG, they place no restrictions on the use of more than one. To quote "We have no objection whatever to a station having more than one transceiver for his/her use. Any station can have 100 of them ready for use, as long as it only keys ONE at a time." Fuel for the fire. 

Overheard: I'm watching a lot of print on the screen, trying to figure out how many new, new operators are entering the digital world because of PSK31. I've worked three first-timers recently. Here are three special newcomers I discovered yesterday-one is 84 years old and has been a ham for 67 years, the other 82 and a ham for 64 years, the third, a mere child, is 75 and licensed 60 years! Let's hear it for the newbies! 

FIELD DAY. Dean N6DE reports that RTTY activity was significantly below last year's level, and that seems to be the general opinion. Dean suggested that perhaps PSK31 sort of took over the digital arena during the test. Probably so, at least from my vantage point. There were quite a few stations on the air. We applaud their sense of adventure. I worked a few and tried, in vain, to work several more. But it appeared that most of the operators had little or no experience with PSK or RTTY protocol. Over and over I witnessed a confusing series of exchanges. They were efficient, for they left out things like the ID of either sending or receiving station. That sort of "stealth" QSO may be a lot of fun for some, but it is always nice to know that the report coming from the other station is aimed at you. Not so, this time. The FD station would often come right back after my report with a QRZ??, but still no station ID. Maybe a training session or two would be in order, one entitled "Buffer construction and their use on Field Day." 

One very good thing about FD was recognized after the test was over. Both Ray WF1B and Brian K6STI gave any and all participating stations the right to use the software without any payment. As Andy N3OGT said, ?I'd like to publicly compliment both Ray and Brian for the very positive and helpful attitude toward Field Day use of their software. I hope this continues in future years.' Amen, for it is indeed the spirit of amateur radio at its best. 

Please note: the return address is not my normal Email address, which remains I have to borrow the use of a friend's server to deliver these newsletters in this era of spamming. 

73 de Jim N2HOS

PSK31 and Field Day 

I had just heard about PSK31 for the first time a few months ago. There was an article in the May QST, and significant discussion about the subject. I thought it would be interesting to try it on Field Day and began working on a cable for the club station. With some help from Omri Serlin, AA6TA, I managed to assemble a cable to connect to the ACC2 port on the club's 570. I squeezed the PTT electronics inside the DB-9 connector for the PC, thereby eliminating an extra box. Since 570 ACC2 port is designed for digital connections, I simply connected the pins on the DIN-13 directly to the plugs for the PC soundcard audio-in and audio-out plugs. This made for a simple cable to connect the PC to the radio. 

Since the 570 has separate audio level settings for the ACC2 connector, you can set this independently from the speaker audio. A little adjustment of these levels and the ones on PC side is all that was needed to get the setup to work. Then connect the DB-9 to the PC serial port for PTT, using the serial port's RTS pin (the DTR pin is an alternate method). See the May 2000 QST for details on the wiring for this cable. 

In the club station a few days before Field Day, Omri and I tried out the new cable. Our first contact with this new mode was a station in Poland on 20 meters. We were both quite excited about this and continued to make a few more contacts that evening. Clearly this mode was going be a lot of fun. We did in spite of the fact the we were manually keying the PTT with out fingers (since I had not quite finished the PTT circuit). 

Then on Field Day we set up a laptop at the CW station for RTTY and PSK31 operation. We started out right away using PSK31 and began making contacts on 20 meters. Omri and I alternated operation and managed to make over 100 contacts. When Omri switched over to RTTY on Sunday morning he commented that RTTY seemed to faster than PSK31. This may be true because RTTY is operating at 45 baud, while PSK31 is operating at 31 baud. However, since PSK31 uses a varicode scheme to encode characters in fewer bits, you would expect it be nearly the same speed. However, in spite of this speed difference I think PSK31 is going to be very popular. It works better with weak signals because of redundant transmission of each character. It uses less bandwidth and therefore supports more concurrent QSOs. The digital spectrum display makes it easier for find stations. With the correct cable, any SSB radio can be used to operate this mode. This will not make RTTY obsolete, but will encourage more hams to use digital modes on the HF bands. 

You can try out PSK31 very easily if you have a Pentium PC with a sound card. Download the PSK31 software (check out for a number of choices). I personally like DigiPan best because of the macro functions and the nice large spectrum display. Connect a microphone to your PC and place the microphone near your SSB radio's speaker. Tune your radio for USB, start up your PSK31 software and watch the spectrum display for signals. When you are ready to join-in on the conversations, then make or buy a cable and get on the air! 

de KN6QI

K6YA Station Report

Recent notable catches at the club station include: 
Call Country QSO Date QSL Rcvd?
XZ0A Myanmar 01/00 Yes
FO0AAA Clipperton 03/00 Yes
9E1C Ethiopia 03/00 Yes
A52A Bhutan 05/00 Yes
VK9WI Willis 05/00 Not yet
KH5/KH6ND Palmyra 06/00  Not yet
VK0MM Macquaire Isl. 06/00 Not yet

All are on the "100 Most Wanted" country list: 
Bhutan No. 4
Macquaire No. 11
Myanmar No. 20
Willis No. 47
Clipperton No. 51
Palmyra No. 52 
Ethiopia No. 72


73 de Omri AA6TA 
Radio Officer

Tom Bohnsack W6PEQ-SK 

The obituary of Thomas Tischer Bohnsack appeared in the June 14 Los Altos Town Crier. He died April 26 in Boise, Idaho. Tom was W6PEQ, W9PEQ before that, and was a long time member of FARS. He was a frequent prize winner in the Home Brew Contests through the years as he had the talent to construct complex projects that looked like commercial prototypes. 

Tom suffered one or more strokes in later life. In 1998, he and his wife Lucile sold their Los Altos home and moved into a retirement home in Boise. 

A condition of the house sale was the removal of his 60' guyed tower and all antennas. He needed help so a work party of Larry Moore KM6IU, Dick Baldwinson N6ATD, Arv Hamer WA6UUT, Stan Kuhl K6MA, Fred Canham K6YT, and George Raven K6OG, took down the antennas, dismantled the tower and removed everything from the site. Tom donated his KLM KT34 tri-band beam to the club and it has been atop the Red Cross tower the past three Field Day Weekends. 

How to get to meetings:

(Visitors always welcome)

FARS meets at the Covington School District building, 201 Covington Road, Los Altos. Take the El Monte exit (The same exit as for the Foothill Fleamarket) off of I-280 and go East on El Monte. Cross Foothill Expressway and turn right at the next light on to Covington (Note Saint William church on corner). Stay to your left as the road forks. Just past the fork, turn left into the school parking lot. Walk through the center hallway and turn right. The meeting room is the first door on the left. Talk in on 145.23 or 145.27, negative offset, 100 PL.